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#264110 - 11/28/08 03:34 AM Cut off from God
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2667
Loc: durham, north england
Okay, I know this is my first post here, and actually I've not wanted to up until now, ---- for a start because my theology is a litle individual.

Several times in my life, I've had what you might call experiences of the presence of God. I can't really defign these very correctly, except saying I felt something loving, infinite, and distinctly not myself.

i've never really understood the hole faith concept, neither have I ever been great at prayer. For me the feeling that God is there was simply a matter of recalling those experiences.

I used to be able to think about the world in such a way as to bring me closer to God, ie, reminds me of, and make me feel a miner echo of what I experienced on those occasions.

The problem is for the last few years, I've litterally not been able to do this. It's not the sense that I believe God has gone anywhere, more the sense that I simply an in a place myself where I feel cut off from God, ---- much as I felt during my abuse.

It's funny, sinse when i was 7 and lost the sight of my right eye, I had a clear experience of God being there, and of being loved. But now, ---- just as in my abuse when i was a teenager, I really feel unable to fell close to or be in contact with God in any way.

As I said, this is a failing in me, not a lack of God.

Having been at a university studdying philosophy, I often was the only theist in a room full of atheists, and found myself defending my position often in fairly vigorous arguement.

A few weeks ago I was absolutely shocked though when i expected to argue with someone, started getting quite defensive and into logical arguement before I found out she had a very pure and symple understanding of God, and a very accepting view, and I was shocked how unpleasant I was being.

I suddenly realized I was parroting my belief in God based on memories I remembered from a long time earlier, rather than things i actually believed or had any sense of now. The memories were stil there, ---- but they had no power, and i was more interested in the theology than in the actual experience.

I felt very guilty for not listening to her, and even more guilty for not bein true to myself sinse I know at a better time in my life I would've been able to calmly understand and accept what she said.

I really don't understand faith, and i certainly don't know how to ask God for help with this. To me it would just be speaking in to the air sinse I don't even feel an echo of what I felt before, ie the presence of God. Of course this is me, not God, and caused by my bloody awful mental state.

Has anyone got any suggestions or thoughts?

#264140 - 11/28/08 10:26 AM Re: Cut off from God [Re: dark empathy]
joelRT Offline

Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
i certainly don't know how to ask God for help with this. To me it would just be speaking in to the air

Then go ahead and speak into the air, God is listening! My experience of God is a moment by moment occurence and on a daily basis. No, I don't always feel God but I see God's presence and action all around me. God never fails to show me that He/She walks with me every step I take because I asked the air for just such a relationship.

My Story 1
My Story 2
The longest journey we take is to self-discovery

#264177 - 11/28/08 04:54 PM Re: Cut off from God [Re: joelRT]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

I have felt the same way for a very long time, and I must admit that of the various abuse issues I have had to face this one has been the most intractable. Your phrase, "cut off", bears exactly the same words I have been using to describe my feelings.

I wish I had some answers for you, but I don't. Maybe it helps to know there is a fellow traveler on the road. I still can't imagine what it would be like to pray and really know something is happening. A close friend of mine has suggested beginning with things like thanking God for things for which I am grateful (and there are so many, I must admit), and that has helped. But the little boy within is still as terrified of God as he ever was of the abuser.

Another friend, John/walkingsouth, said something that did help me a lot, and that came when he pointed out that abuse of this kind is spiritual. So does that mean it requires a spiritual solution? What would that be?

So as you can see - more questions than answers on this one. smile Lots of work to do!

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#264223 - 11/28/08 11:05 PM Re: Cut off from God [Re: roadrunner]
Stretch73 Offline

Registered: 06/27/08
Posts: 336
Loc: Sea Isle City, NJ
Footsteps In The Sand

One night a man had a dream.
He dreamt he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:

"Oh my precious. precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
I didn’t leave you, it was then that I carried you."

"I was so poor growing up, that if I wasn't born a boy, I wouldn't have had anything to play with." Rodney Dangerfield

#264294 - 11/29/08 12:59 PM Re: Cut off from God [Re: dark empathy]
Geeders Offline

Registered: 09/03/08
Posts: 1901
Loc: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
When I need to talk with God, I crank up my music. I can become one with it, feeling it, experiencing it, living it. God is in my music. No, its not all spiritual stuff, not at all. But it moves me to a different level of conciousness, a different playing field. And I find Him right where I left him.

Within my heart. Joel sent me a link yesterday that made me remember my WoR. God was there. I'm sure of it.

Take Care,

My name is Jim
WoR Mysthaven 2008, Level 2 WoR Alta 2009, Kirkridge 2010, 2011, Oprah 200 men

#264299 - 11/29/08 03:16 PM Re: Cut off from God [Re: dark empathy]
Sans Logos Offline

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5796
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
dark, thanks for the topic. i have no suggestions, and i don't know if what i will write have any pertinence for you, but i wanted to share some thoughts which have arisen as a result of seeing this post. i can only share my experience, my process of having come to terms with this question.

if i had to label myself spiritually, i would say i am a christian non-dualist. however, i don't subscribe to the traditional western ideas about jesus as moral teacher, but rather as one who came into being to preach against the dualisms of the culture at the time, as they contributed to forming the values reflected in hebrew [moral code, ie right and wrong, do's and don'ts] and greek culture [early philosophers ideas about ethics and phenomenon of opposites].

then as christianity developed its ideas out of the current philosophies and theologies of the day, christ's intended teaching missed it's mark. but that's ok, because that's the way it was 'supposed to be'. nothing has gone wrong in any way. some people think that christology has been defamed, but it has not, rather it is continuing to develop as the universe unfolds. BUT not in the way that churches believe it 'should'.

on the other hand, that which grows out my experience of eastern philosophy and theology, the non-dual aspect of my understanding, has more to do with the idea that beyond and prior to the concept of god, there exists formless presence of awareness that essentially cannot change. the world appears in all of its dualistic phenomena, but we have mistaken that for 'the real', and that is where suffering begins.

from a very early age, one is taught to identify with, to assign labels and meaning inherited through the social dna of the family [ and by extension cultural] system. as the 'i' continues to develop and emerge, it tries to make sense with what it notices is appearing through its perception scope on the front of the face, in the tactile, in the vibrations of air waves against eardrums, and so forth. its ongoing growth process involves synthesizing all of the data consumed by the senses from moment to moment, and inculcating into the functionality of the human mechanism.

now religion comes along and makes rules by which the mechanism must abide, and politics creates laws for protection, and philosophy tells it how to think about itself, but there lies the rub. humans rarely take time to self-reflect, simply because the western culture is a culture that encourages the fulfillment and elevation of self as its supreme acquisitive characteristic. if we were taught to reflect more frequently on the efficacy of self development then gaining wealth, popularity, titles would lose their value and thus their hold on us to form us into the misshapen subjects that we tend to become over time.

so we go along believing, steeled from youth for the battle to acquiesce, that we will someday achieve all that we have been trained to hope for and to desire, forgetting along the way to identify our deepest needs, in favor of our wants.

it's no wonder the further along this path that we trod, that we become more and more disenfranchised from the sense of 'the real'. we have buried ourselves in our acquisitions, material and sensual, and placed those as a wall between us and god.

and god is one, without a 2nd, but we live primarily identifying with ourselves, our egoity, as though we are separate, but we are not. and all the things we desire come to possess us in the sense that we cannot live without them.

yes, we cannot live without god either, but if we take our cues from the cultural matrix, then all we need do is make god into a picture in our heads and nod to it every now and again, making that the primary relationship with god, replacing it with the true joy and bliss that could be known if we would learn to dispossess ourselves of the stranglehold of egoity.

in summary, thoughts and feelings are all products of an ego that has entrenched notions which have spawned want and desire. to the extent that those are not fulfilled there will be frustration and grief.

but a very smart man said this about the god question:

'As long as there is enthusiasm for seeking amid life's alternatives, these questions remain superficial. But when death becomes real, or when deep disillusionment with the possibilities of experience overtakes the being, then one can no longer avoid the confrontation with fundamental questions. At such moments, the heart is open, inconsolable by ordinary means. Then there is a ripeness, an urgency for Truth, Reality, and Real God.'

in other words, until nothing else is of prime importance, not even one's own physical life, then the things that have come to possess us will continue to deter-mine the arc of life's choices.

the beauty of it all, is that all through life, god is always there, as god is now for you in this questioning, beckoning us to, calling us deeper and deeper into relationship.

to the extent that we yield, incrementally, such as you are seeking to do now, life becomes a series of moments unfolding to reveal the truth of our true nature, that being that we are not separate now, nor have we ever truly been, no will we ever be.

someone else said that the purest prayer is to ask the question: 'who am i?'.

in closing i share another prayer that arose in me during my time in the monastery. this prayer is based on the deepest human needs; desire, hunger, and thirst, the three things needed to 'live'.

god alone

may my only desire be for god
my only hunger for christ
my only thirst for the spirit
of god alone

may your journey be joy, and your burden light


Ron Schulz, MSPC, NCC

#264469 - 11/30/08 03:00 PM Re: Cut off from God [Re: Sans Logos]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2667
Loc: durham, north england

First to Ron, I'll reply to your post in another thread I think, sinse there're a few things there I'd like to think about and give a more full response to.

Stretch and Joel, I've seen the footsteps poem before, and I really dislike the "god is there anyway" answer.

if this is me being carried by God, shouldn't I know about it? and shouldn't it be less bloody awful than it is? When i was 7 i had experience of being comforted by God in a very personal and warm way, very close to being carried if you like, and that is not my experience now at all, ----- in fact it's getting back to that sort of relationship which I would like. I think it's great that people who have that sort of relationship with God anyway, despite what is going on in their lives, but for me ----- it just seems I either don't have the energy, don't have the resources, or something else is missing.

I admit I am very uncomfortable and have a hard time with the concept of faith without proof, ---- though I'm quite happy with the idea of experiencial proof, which is why I'm a theist myself, but I'm also having real trouble with the idea of prayer without proof.

Yes I know logically God is there, but it'd be like speaking outloud into the air to someone who was 1000 miles away, ----- utterly pointless.

Of course, as I said, this is me, not God, and a lack in myself.

Geeders, I actually understand something of what your saying. it might be synaesthesia, but I do know the feeling of being completely lost in music, having it fill every sense. The problem is, that's stil me. I can be deeply concentrating on music, unmoving for hours, just totally concentrated upon the harmonies, ----- but it's stil me.

"God being within my heart" just plane doesn't happen, and while music is a very profound, very rich, and very full experience, ----- it doesn't do anything for me God wise.
Hi Larry.

It does actually help to know someone is in the same boat with this, ----- and I had never considdered the idea of spiritual abuse I admit.

For me though, there isn't any element of fear. Back when I was doing my degree, when things were working properly, while I wouldn't go so far as to say I had any sort of constant knolidge or communication with God, I did have two more distinct religious experiences of the sort i had when i was 7, ---- and from those some of the "echoes" experiences I mentioned earlier.

My loss of touch with God actually seems symptomatic of my life just generally going down hill recently, and as I said initially, I was quite frightened when i discovered i was just parroting arguements for old memories of things that really didn't have any power or reality to me anymore.

It's sort of like looking at photos of a place you know you were happy in once, but having no real memory or sense of the place at all beyond those photographs.

I'd like my relationship with God to be more real than just a memory, ---- but the place I'm in at the moment just doesn't seem to permit that.

I'll try rereading screwtape, ---- sinse I'm fairly certain there was a bit in there about this precise feeling, though unfortunately Cs lewis seems to have more capacity to understand and gain strength from prayer without proof or knolidge than I have.

Another problem, is my parents are urging me to join one of the Christian societies here at Durham in order to make some more local friends, but to sit through any kind of worship with my current state of belief would feel hippocrytical in the extreme to me right now.


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